What, exactly, is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Put in simple terms, it’s a method of making sure when someone is searching for something in a search engine like Google or Bing, that your site is determined to be more relevant than your competitors. Sounds simple enough, right? Not even remotely. But fear not, below are some highlights of what it is, how it’s done, and some simple dos and don’ts to follow.
How Does It Work?
SEO, when done properly, includes adding regular content to your website that highlights the keywords one would search for when looking for your site. For instance, you might have a blog post about the right way to take care of live flowers that include phrases like “taking care of live flowers”. Other, more specific searches, are aimed at a local area or service. Having site content that highlights your locksmith business so that it comes up in “locksmith near me”.
SEO techniques tend to vary depending on the type of business you have, the region you service (local, state, national, etc), and the competitiveness of the space (car dealerships and law offices, for example, are fiercely competitive). Still, there are a few best practices you can do yourself to help get the ball rolling.
Dos and Don’ts
When doing your own SEO, there are a few good practices to keep in mind.
Don’t reuse a search term in your post multiple times because you want to maximize your rankings in it. For instance, if you sell used cars, writing a paragraph with the words “used cars” in it 10 times won’t be the best way to get you recognition. This is something called “keyword spamming” and will actually hurt your rankings in a search engine like Google.
Don’t copy / paste text content from other sites. This is a bad idea for a couple reasons, even if the site is one you own. The presence of identical copy between sites hurts you, and does nothing to improve the ranking of the original site. It’s ok to quote or cite a source, but restrict that to only a couple sentences at most and make sure that the context is correct.
Don’t dramatically change your site content or layout often. While an overhaul is good, if you dramatically change the content, layout, or theme of your site too often it will hurt your rankings. Search engines keep track of site changes to ensure that a site is being built upon and is thematically consistent. A home improvement site that suddenly finds all of its content changed to an auto dealership will do nothing to improve its rankings in either search.
Do post regular, concise blogs. Blogs are one of the best ways to keep your site fresh and topical while improving its rankings. Since your blog is adding to the overall content of the site, and staying true to the purpose of the site, it helps your rankings. 5-7 paragraphs, concise and topical, will do wonders to help improve your SEO in both the main and sub terms.
Do post links to your site around the web. An easy way to do this is through Facebook and other social media platforms. When you write a blog (see above) it’s good to get the word out. Share the blog link on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (as appropriate), and other social media platforms. This increases the number of places on the web that are directing users back to your site. While not just generating traffic from those sources, it counts for points in search engines.
Do research your search terms. As stated above, trying to gain rankings by using search terms that are too broad may find you swimming up a waterfall. For instance, if yours is a blog about technology news, targeting the search term “news” might not get you anywhere. Instead, find your niche, and post articles about “top performance budget laptop news”. To help you refine your effort, use a tool like Google Trends to help you see what keyword and search terms are trending and plan accordingly.
There’s a lot to know about SEO, but the basics are easy to remember: Write new content regularly, tell the world by posting links on various platforms, and don’t copy content from other sites or try to “game the system”. Those are the biggest things to know about good SEO. If you’d like to know more, reach out to us and find out how we can up your search rankings and drive more traffic to your site using the exact same steps as above.